Never Gonna Work

Experimental shorts ∙ 5min ∙ 16mm film, video | 2015

I spent much of 2014 and 2015 working on three back-to-back music videos with Nick Hakim, Gabriel Garzón-Montano, and Jeremiah Meece. Unfortunately none of the videos were ever released, but I'm still proud of the work we put into what I have now come to appreciate as a series of musically-inspired experimental short films.

This series gave me the opportunity to experiment with new media formats, new environments, and new collaborators. Each film was conceived as a minimalist, site-specific sequence designed to express the feeling of a particular song through images and actions that were suggestive of a simple, subtle narrative.

Never Gonna Work

Shortly after moving to NYC, I began taking Julio Jean’s Afro-Haitian dance class at Cumbe Center for African and Diaspora Dance on Fulton street in Downtown Brooklyn, where I met dancer Rachel Wyman. I had been talking with Jeremiah Meece about doing a music video for a single on his forthcoming solo EP, and I had also been working as a consulting producer on a documentary project upstate, where I discovered the location of a secluded reservoir. I knew I wanted to do something organic and improvised with Rachel, the landscape, and analog film. The single didn’t make it onto the record and so the video was never released. But the project did allow me to experiment with two new media—dance and film—that I continue to explore in my work today.


💡 This project relates to Yanvalou. [2017]

Cold

Nick Hakim's soulful and tender music inspired me to experiment with telling a simple story within a single shot, in one take. I wanted the unbroken, continuous experience of a sequence shot to accompany what felt like an infinite lullaby in the quality and rhythm of the song “Cold.” On what felt like the coldest day of the year, we shot in the Rockaways with a camera attached to a gimbal, operated from the open hatch of an SUV. Nick was a great sport and very willing to perform until a flash snowstorm made it impossible to continue. Needless to say, it was extremely dangerous, but the results are stunning. We shot four takes, the third was the best. Nick decided to abandon the project and the video was never released.

6 8

In “6 8”, Gabriel Garzón-Montano plays a character whose relationship to his downstairs neighbor (Nadia Rosenberg) develops slowly and unexpectedly over time. The visual narrative mirrors the song's cyclic structure, a single verse repeated four times with a delicate harmonic progression. Rather than conform to conventional three-act narrative structure, I was inspired to experiment with Kishōtenketsu, a four-act dramatic form characteristic of the Japanese yonkoma (four-panel manga). Despite the subzero January temperatures, we shot outdoors and staged the action indoors to capture a voyeuristic angle and slow-burn storytelling effect. Gabriel decided to abandon the project and the video was never released.

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